USA Swimming Grand Prix, Austin: Dana Vollmer Doubles, Rebecca Soni Wows Crowd

AUSTIN, Texas, March 6. THE last night of long course meter swimming at the USA Swimming Grand Prix held in Austin featured a double by Cal's Dana Vollmer. Additionally, Trojan's Rebecca Soni turned in a world-class time in the 200 breast.

Women's 200 back
The youngsters put on a show in the event as 15 and 16 year olds picked up the top three spots. Raleigh's Henriette Stenkvist, 16, topped the finale in 2:12.64, while Swim Ontario's Sinead Russell, 16, finished second in 2:12.73. Crow Canyon's Madison White, 15, wound up third in 2:13.44.

FAST's Katie Hoff (2:13.80), Margaret Hoelzer (2:15.81) and Ariana Kukors (2:16.55) wound up taking fourth through sixth.

Men's 200 back
SwimMAC's Nick Thoman became one of four swimmers to clear 2:00 this year in the event with a time of 1:59.58. His time is the third-best of the year behind Ryosuke Irie (1:55.11) and Radoslaw Kawecki (1:59.32). Kazuki Watanabe also cleared 2:00 this year with a 1:59.92.

FAST's Robert Margalis posted a distant second-place time of 2:02.35, while Swim Ontario's Matt Hawes earned third in 2:02.51.

Women's 100 free
California's Dana Vollmer threw down the second fastest time in the world with a 54.30 to win the event. She trails only Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who clocked a sterling time of 54.27 earlier today in Lyon, France. Vollmer's teammate Natalie Coughlin clocked a swift time of 54.71 in her return meet after 18 months away from the sports since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Along with Trojan's Jessica Hardy, who placed third today with a 54.74, only five swimmers have cleared 54 seconds in the event this year. Notably, AGUA's Lia Neal, 15, won the B final with a quick time of 55.84.

Men's 100 free
Auburn's Cesar Cielo emerged from a stacked field with the swiftest time in the world this year. Cielo clocked a 49.13, leading at the turn with a 23.59 before coming home in 25.54. Longhorn's Garrett Weber-Gale finished second in 49.31, the second best time of the year. Both cleared the 49.43 set by Brent Hayden at the Missouri Grand Prix last month. Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers also posted a world-class time with a third-place 49.45.

Women's 800 free
Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton kept tacking onto her points lead in the Grand Prix series with another gold-medal haul in the distance free event. Sutton notched a time of 8:41.54 for the win. She's already been faster in the event this year with an 8:40.16 at the Missouri Grand Prix, but she didn't need that top-end speed tonight with Raleigh's Sarah Henry taking a distant second in 8:49.52. Northwest's Kelly Baird touched third overall in 8:50.47.

Men's 1500 free
Club Wolverine's Peter Vanderkaay turned in the top time in the world this year with a 15:18.75. He moved ahead of the 15:19.02 posted by Ryan Cochrane last month. Longhorn's Michael Klueh finished second in the metric mile with a 15:27.24, while Scenic City's Sean Ryan placed third in 15:35.70.

Women's 200 breast
Trojan's Rebecca Soni scorched the distance breaststroke event with a sterling time of 2:22.91. Not only is the time among the top 30 of all time, she finished more than three seconds faster than Leisel Jones' previous best time this year of 2:26.14 from last month. KING's Megan Jendrick had the best view in the house with a second-place time of 2:30.19, while SwimMAC's Justine Mueller earned third in 2:32.65.

Men's 200 breast
Tucson Ford's Mike Alexandrov cruised to victory with a time of 2:14.79 for the win. SMU's Thomas Cole placed second overall in 2:16.34, while Longhorn's Matt Lowe clinched third in 2:16.52.

Women's 200 fly
Cal's Dana Vollmer completed a double with a winning time of 2:13.86. The effort was plenty to win tonight, but stood well back of Ellen Gandy's top time in the world this year of a 2:07.77 from January. Kelly Nelson claimed second in 2:15.88, while La Mirada Armada's Kirstie Chen finished third in 2:16.62.

Men's 200 fly
Louisville's Pedro Oliveira won in 1:59.02 to move into sixth in the world this year, ahead of Takumi Serizawa's 1:59.21 from February. Club Wolverine's Mark Hsu placed second in 1:59.71, while SMU's Edward Dowes clinched third overall in 2:02.09.

Rebecca Soni